Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Going Home

I have court this morning, and then lunch with my former law partner Duncan and then I'm heading home to see my wife and kids. I have never been separated from them this long before, and it has not been easy, even though I've been pretty busy. It'll be nice to be home for a few days, and then Sherry, Sarah and I are going to return to East Tennessee so I can attend court next Monday.

I was expecting to run into rain on the trip home this afternoon, but the meteorologists think the storm system won't arrive in Nashville until tonight. It's supposed to be pretty nasty.

Shuttle Damaged by Hail

The space shuttle Atlantis, which was scheduled to launch this month, has been grounded due to hail damage to the external fuel tank.

Supper at Wannie's

La and Les and Grace went shopping at Babies R Us yesterday, and then came over here to Mom's with food from Italian Market and Grill. Grace is definitely getting more alert, and we all took turns holding and rocking her. Mom showed off her expertise by rocking her to sleep with lullabies.

Garage Band

My friend Robin sent me this photo of her son, Preston, and his rock band jamming in the garage. Preston is on the right. Makes me miss my electric guitar.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pretty Day in East Tennessee

I spent the entire morning in a windowless courtroom, except for my drive from Knoxville to Maryville, but came outside to a beautiful and warm day. I saw two old friends I haven't seen since Sherry and I had our wedding reception in 2002, and I was very happy to see them, though the circumstances which led to them being at the courthouse were unhappy ones. Hopefully we will be able to rekindle our friendship once we get moved.

I saw several lawyers I haven't seen since I moved away, and I am becoming used to startled faces on attorneys, though I think I've pestered the poor courthouse staff enough for them to know I'm back. I got an interesting suggestion from one of my friends at the Blount County Clerk and Master's office. Apparently no one in Maryville is doing flat rate divorces. I've never considered doing it, but if you got enough of them it could be worthwhile. I shall contemplate the idea for a few days.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cool, if Queasy, Gargoyle


Space Station Lookout

The International Space Station will be visible, conditions permitting, from the United States tomorrow and Wednesday mornings. If you want to look for it, go to the NASA website or E-mail me. I looked this morning, but it was too overcast in the northwest, where it was supposed to be, to see it.

Buttercups

I've been meaning to mention that there are buttercups coming up in Knoxville and Maryville, and I even saw a grape hyacinth over in Les and Frazier's neighborhood the other day. Spring is coming to East Tennessee just in time for our move.

Mellow Sunday

Mom and I didn't do much yesterday. I made some telephone calls and talked at length with my friend Bart Yancey, who I got to catch up with. He lives on a beautiful cove on Melton Hill Lake, and I look forward to taking Sherry and the kids to enjoy the lake out there when the weather warms up.

There was a nice treat for me for a lazy Sunday. The Star Trek movie First Contact was on television, and I got to watch the entire movie without interruption, which is incredibly rare for me. Fraz said that the History Channel ran a show on Star Trek Saturday night, and that it had interviews with the cast members from the various series. Hopefully, I'll catch it soon.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Time to Renew Your Fishing and Hunting License

All Tennessee year-round fishing and hunting licenses expire on February 28, so now is the time to renew. The TWRA link is posted below.

https://www1.wildlifelicense.com/tn/

Noshville and Boscos in Franklin

I saw in the Tennessean this morning that Noshville Delicatessen and Boscos Brewery and Restaurant are opening new eateries in the Cool Springs area of Franklin. Both are great venues, but I'm especially fond of Boscos in the Village, where Sherry and I had our first date on March 2, 2001. Can you believe she's tolerated me for six years?

There's No Such Thing as Chuck E. Cheese

Sarah has reached the point where she has become aware of Chuck E. Cheese, though I've been trying to convince her that there's no such thing. Sherry just called to warn me that she's taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese to meet her friend Stefanie for lunch. I guess I'll have to come clean with the Boong.

UT vs. Arkansas

I haven't watched a basketball game in years, but Fraz has season tickets, so he's quite a fan. We watched UT beat Arkansas. I've noticed in the news that UT's men's team has had trouble winning on the road, and so it was especially good for them to win at Arkansas. By the time it was all said and done with there was quite a group over at Fuzzy Manor. They must have thought I was lame as hell, since Leslie had put Sound of Music on, and I was horizontal on the sofa watching it.

Hike On Abrams Creek

Frazier and I went hiking along Abrams Creek in the Smokies Saturday morning. There's a backcountry campsite just under two miles out of Abrams Creek campground, and I wanted to walk it and see if it was as easy as I remembered it. It was. It's a really flat campsite under tall hemlocks next to a small creek. It took us about thirty minutes to walk in without packs.

I forget how much being in the woods recharges me. The trail we were walking on follows Abrams Creek for much of the walk, so you can hear the water as you hike along. It's especially pretty in winter, because at points you can look down the gorge at the river and bottomland, which would ordinarily be obscured by foliage in the spring and summer. When we came out of the woods and into the parking lot, a patrol of Boy Scouts were hiking with full packs for an overnighter. We gave them the Boy Scout salute and told them to carry on.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday at Stately Fuzzy Manor

I have court this morning in Maryville, and after that I'm going to go over to Leslie and Frazier's place to spend the night so that Mom can have some solitude at her home for the first time in a week. Since it's supposed to be warm Saturday, I was hoping to get a camping trip together, but they're calling for storms Saturday night into Sunday. Instead, Fraz and I are going to get up early tomorrow before the bad weather moves in and make a trip out to my old stomping grounds on Louisville Lake to see what shape Mad Goose Island and Bacchanalia are in after all this time.

Shortly after I left East Tennessee, someone put two goats out on Mad Goose Island, which was the better campsite of the two islands. (That island had goats on it at some point in the past as well, and locals called it Goat Island because of that.) I'll be curious to see if the goats are still there and to see what they've done to the campsite I worked so hard to create out of the tangle of accursed privet hedge I found there.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Busy Thursday for Lawyer Steve

I'm pleased to say that I had a busy day today. Sherry and the Boong are safely home in Bellevue and have picked up Joey and Jake, who have an invitation to a Vanderbilt basketball game tonight. I've concluded my duties for this day, and after having taught my computer-impaired mother how to copy and paste this afternoon I am compelled to rest.

Sherry and Sarah Heading Back to Nashville Today

I've been dreading today. Sherry and Sarah are going back home to Nashville this morning in order to get back and pick up Jake and Joey from school this afternoon. I have court in Maryville tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday, so I'll be separated from my family until next Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday. Fortunately, I'll be busy, so hopefully the time will go quickly. I miss them already!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Free Smokies Photos

I usually only look at the Look Rock and Purchase Knob webcams, and not at the home page for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I did the latter this afternoon and found a bunch of photos of the mountains they have that you can download. This is Mount LeConte.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Question of Taste

Sherry and I are not fans of Barney the purple dinosaur, but Mom lets Sarah watch it. This morning, Sarah saw it come on and at first acted like she didn't like Barney. Then she started asking me if I liked the show. I told her I don't, but that people like different things. The kids also like a rap song, that Sarah calls "Jo Jo Song" because Joey likes it, and she knows I don't care for that song. It was interesting listening to her talking it out as she tried to get her mind around the idea. Not everyone likes the same things, but that's okay and part of individuality. I'm glad she decides what she likes, though I shall do my best to put her off of the rap music. Where's my Highway to Hell album?

Vandy/Florida Flap

Vanderbilt's men's basketball team beat Florida this weekend, and the fans rushed the court after the buzzer in violation of NCAA rules. This is apparently the second time this has happened. I am reminded of several years ago when Georgia's football team beat UT for the first time in years, and the Georgia fans rushed their home field and destroyed the famous hedges. I agree with my former law partner, Duncan. He said, "Act like you've won a game before."

Leslie's New Website

Leslie and her partner Emily have launched their new website for their editing business. Check it out here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Old Parking Lot

Downtown Knoxville was pretty quiet this morning, and I was able to park on the parking lot where I used to work in my college days in the late 80's. It's now just a tiny corner of a much bigger parking lot, but it has landscaping now.

Climbers Rescued from Mt. Hood, Oregon

I haven't followed this really closely, but I was aware there were three campers stranded up there this morning in a nasty snowstorm. The search parties pulled them out of there today, and everyone is okay.

NASA Lauches Delta 2 Rocket

NASA launched a Delta 2 rocket on Saturday carrying five satellites designed to study geomagnetic substorms in Earth's atmosphere that may be the cause of the Aurora Borealis. As the shuttle fleet ages, I bet we'll see more and more rockets carrying gear, and later people, into space.

Sunday Report

After our excursion to Blount County, Les and Fraz followed us back over to Mom's, where we hung out for the afternoon. We pretty much just played with Sarah and visited until supper time.

I have a meeting in Knoxville at 10:00 a.m. this morning with my friend Brent from law school, but since it's President's Day I expect no courts will be open. I figure I'll enjoy the holiday this afternoon, though I may attend to some paperwork and/or some legal research I need to do.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Visit to Lively Road

We met Les and Fraz for lunch in Alcoa and then took them and Ma and Sarah by to see our new place. By luck, our new landlady was there, and so we were able to go inside. Both Mom and the landlady were sporting their fur coats, so I think we at least looked like the "right kind of people."

Highway 441 Closed in the Smokies

Highway 411 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was closed last night due to the snow, and I suspect it probably still is. La and Stew were going to take the Gracester up for some quiet time at their place up in Pigeon Forge, and if they did they got about four inches worth of snow last night, which will suit them fine.

For those of you who do not know any identical twins, they go great lengths to distinguish themselves from one another. Leslie has been a lover of Jimmy Buffett and all things tropical since she was a teenager, so Laura is a lover of snow and mountains and all things cold and wintery.

North Dakota Snow Angels

Well, this is a frivolous, but fun story. Yesterday a world record was set for the most snow angels in Bismarck, North Dakota. Michigan outdid North Dakota last year and took the record, so those zany North Dakotans rounded up a bunch of cold people who were hip to lying down in the snow and flailing their arms and legs around and took the record back. The film of thousands of people making snow angels is fun to see.

This fits nicely with my theory that humans never really fully grow up.

Boong's Chair


For a three-year-old, Sarah has a vast store of seating. This is the Cinderella papa-san chair she got for Christmas. She also got a Cinderella bed and tent, all of which we left here at Mom's on the theory that we didn't want to move it to Nashville and then move it back three months later.

A Cold Winter Morn

Well, yesterday's snow event wasn't all that big a deal here in Knoxville, nor was it in Maryville. We were a bit worried it might interfere with our house hunting yesterday, but that did not come to pass. It apparently snowed some last night, though, because the streets have a layer of snow on them this morning. It's supposed to warm up into the upper 50's next week, which will be a nice relief after all the cold we've had lately.

Mardi Gras

I just saw a spot on the news showing some Mardi Gras partiers in New Orleans. With the recovery there going so slowly, I'm sure the annual celebration is good not only for the local economy, but also for their spirits. Party on, Louisiana!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Grams and J&J Christmas

These recently posted photos included our Christmas photos. It's a bit late for them, but here's a cute pic of Grams and Jake and a distracted Joey.

We Have Found Us a Home

Sherry and I paid a deposit on a two-bedroom townhouse today in Maryville. Actually, I'm rather surprised that it's a Maryville address. I would've guessed Alcoa. It has about 1600 square feet, which I think is larger than where we are now in Nashville, and it backs up to the large property where UT/Green Bay Packers football great Reggie White used to live. We basically have a horse farm behind us again.

It's about ten minutes from the courthouse and justice center, and about ten minutes from La and fifteen from Les. It's 20-25 minutes from Mom's, so all in all, it's pretty convenient.

Boong has been hanging with Wannie all day, and is climbing all over me, so I'll end this post.

A Creative Solution

The problem at which this sign is aimed has been a continuing problem at our house. Sherry came up with a creative solution.

Even More Godless Snow

On the weather.com radar it looks like there's a big ol' snow cloud just reaching Nashvegas about now. We'll get a full report from the boys later in the morning, I suspect. As is often the case, the system is heading this way, so we'll have to get an early start on the house-hunting.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I'm well into my latest audiobook, Team of Rivals, by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The book examines the career of Abraham Lincoln by comparing it to the careers of the men who contended with him for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1860, with Lincoln being by far the person who came the farthest to get that nomination. He then included them in his administration, and they won the War Between the States.

Most people find Lincoln a compelling figure, and I expect that most Americans know more about Lincoln and Washington than any of the other Presidents. Since Lincoln was a lawyer, his career is quite interesting to me, especially back in those olden days.

Lincoln was reknowned as a storyteller, and one of his tales seems appropriate for President's Day weekend. After American independence was achieved, Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen visited England. While he was there, he endured quite a bit of ribbing as an American. At one point on his trip, the Englishmen that were in his company posted a picture of George Washington prominently in the outhouse so that Allen would see it when he next went there to relieve himself.

When Allen did so and returned to the party, the Englishmen were surprised that Allen did not mention the picture of Washington and asked him if he'd seen it. Allen replied that he had seen it, and that he could think of no more appropriate place in England for it to be displayed because, he said, "Nothing will make an Englishman shit so fast as the sight of General Washington."

Gathering at Mom's House

Sherry and Boong and I arrived in Knoxville yesterday in time to have lunch at La Fiesta Mexican restaurant with Mom. (It's one of her favorites.) When we got back to Mom's place, Sherry went to work finding us a place to live in Maryville, and she's got quite a few places for us to look at this morning.

Les and Fraz came over with a yummy casserole for supper, and La and Stew came over with Andrew and Grace. Andrew, whom we've all regarded as underprivileged because he's almost eighteen and has had no wheels, drove over in his new (to him) Volvo. He is underprivileged no more.

I think this was Grace's first trip to Mom's house, and she seemed quite content, though we adults were, er, rather conversational last night. Each time Sarah arrives at Mom's house, she reclaims all of her toys that are here (and then strews them about the house). She eventually settled in to playing computer games on Mom's computer, which is much faster than our hamster-powered dial-up service.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Gracie Graham

I haven't been able to post any photo of my neice since she was born, but here are a few photos. Here she is with Papa Stew.


Here's Wannie with Baby Grace at La and Stew's.

At long last, the Boongablogger posts pics of Grace.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Peter Pan Peanut Butter Recall

Peter Pan Peanut Butter has recalled a bunch of its product due to salmonella contamination. If the number coding on the lid starts with 2111, you've got the tainted peanut butter. I just threw away a jar with the 2111 code, though we've been eating it without any ill effects.

Davidson County Schools Just Closed

Looks like J&J have another snow day to enjoy!

Who Cares About Anna Nichole Smith?

Good grief! This has been in the media every day since they found her dead. What a vacuous story about a vacuous life. Edward R. Murrow is turning over in his grave.

Snow in Middle Tennessee

When I woke up this morning it was snowing again. It's stopped now, but we may get some more over the course of the day. Most of it has been to our south, and Williamson County, which adjoins Davidson to our south, just closed school. So far, the Davidson County schools are open.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More Middle Tennessee Music News -- Starwood to Close

The Tennessean reported today that the Starwood Amphitheater has closed, the 2007 concert season has been scrubbed, and the place is in the process of being sold, most likely to a real estate developer, according to the article. I scanned the comments to the article online, and folks are remembering the fun shows they saw there over the years. I know I've seen Jimmy Buffett there more than once, and it's a great venue for Parrotheads to do their thing.

Sarah Confronts Giant Orange Cheetah

The new Publix across the street is having its grand opening today, and Sherry and I took the Boong to check it out. The Cheetos mascot, a giant orange cheetah, was on duty outside the joint, and we took advantage of the photo op. As usual, Sarah was much more excited about seeing this guy when he was at a distance. When we moved up next to him for the photo, she wasn't quite so thrilled about the whole thing.

The new Publix was abuzz with activity and free food, though we'd just eaten at the City Limits cafe just down the street. As with all grand openings, the Publix employees will have a story to tell. With the store absolutely full of shoppers, the alarms went off.

It's hard to believe that a year ago the site was woods, and just months ago we were walking around inside the unfinished building. It reminded me of hanging out inside Downtown West in Knoxville before the building was finished, way back when I was in high school at Bearden, though I didn't manage to drink any beer inside the Publix while it was under construction.

Flurries in Nashville

We have a few flurries blowing around here in Nashvegas. It's enough to be pretty, but not enough to even cover the ground, much less get the kids out of school. I have business at the newly reopened downtown courthouse, so I may go up there today and check it out.

Reagan Airport in Washington, DC, is closed due to bad weather.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

Sherry and Steve's Anniversary

Today marks the day that my loving wife has tolerated me in wedlock for five years. We were married on February 14, 2002, by Judge Hugh E. DeLozier, Jr., in his courtroom in the Blount County Justice Center. Jake and Joey wore tuxes with red bowties and cummerbunds, and Jake was especially funny hamming it up around the justice center. We had a small ceremony with family, my law partners and friends from the courthouse and then went up to a cabin in Walland for a couple of days of Honeymoon before going back down the mountain to Knoxville for a big tropical party at Sunchase Apartments. (Les lived there at the time, and the place has a wonderful clubhouse and indoor pool and hot tub.)

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, SWEETIE!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

News About Purple Hayes

I E-mailed my friend, Todd "Purple" Hayes, this morning to tell him about the Police playing Bonnaroo this summer. I'm not sure if he ever made it to a Bonnaroo show, but I know he was planning to a couple of summers ago. He isn't going to be able to make the show this summer because his wife is expecting to deliver a child at the end of June. Congratulations to the Hayes family!

Police to Play Bonnaroo in Manchester

I just heard on the local news that the Police, newly reunited, will play the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, on June 16, 2007. I've never been much of a Police fan, but they're okay. And it's huge news for Bonnaroo and Manchester.

Steve Survives Girls Night Out

I have to say, the kids were well-behaved last night, although Sarah got a little rowdy. She got to play outside yesterday afternoon, since it was almost 60 degrees out, and that must have gotten her fired up. Jake and Joey both had a bunch of homework and also came home hungry, so between studying and supping, they stayed pretty busy.

The kids eventually took over the television in the living room, so I retreated, as I often do, to the bedroom to watch History Channel. Sarah brought a book in, which I read to her, and Sherry was home around 8:00 p.m. From the smile on her face, I'd say she had a good time.

Terrible Wreck in Bellevue Last Night

Last night there was a heck of a wreck on nearby Newsom Station road. The guy ran his truck off the road, and it was teetering on the brink of an embankment, so the emergency responders had a job getting him out of his mangled vehicle. He went to the hospital with injuries that were not life threatening, but he's got some legal issues since the cops found cocaine in his truck. Speed kills.

Davidson County Courts Return to Downtown

After four years in MetroCenter, the last of the Davidson County courts are moving back to the historic , newly renovated, courthouse facility downtown. I've parked in the new garage there several times when I've had business at the A.A. Birch Buuilding, which houses the criminal courts. I haven't been inside the courthouse since before it closed, which was when I was working for the DCS central legal office. All the civil courts are closed this week for everyone to get moved and ready for business next week.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Girls' Night Out

Sherry is going out tonight with her friends from PlusMark, and it's sort of a going-away gathering. They are to dine at Amerigo's in Cool Springs, which is a very classy and fun place to have a really good meal. Sherry's gone to pick up J&J from school, so I await the influx of children. God help me.

A Tennessee Gothic

Sherry created some pop art of her own while were in the art museum's hands-on room. There was an area where you could use plastic patterns to make images by putting a piece of paper over the pattern and then running a piece of crayon over the paper. There was a pattern for An American Gothic, which Sherry used to make the two of us as A Tennessee Gothic. She's got her Life is Good shirt, and I've got a tie-dye and do-rag. She also made me a very lovely watercolor valentine/anniversary card.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ham and Cheese Waffle

When we departed Knoxville on Thursday, Mom treated us to breakfast at the Papermill Drive Waffle House. She was headed over to Laura's house afterward, and so she ordered Laura a Ham and Cheese Waffle. Mom is famous for this sort of stuff. She also tried to give Sarah some raisin toast, but confused it with her cheese eggs and called it cheese toast. Next time I go to Waffle House, I'm ordering raisin eggs, cheese toast and a ham and cheese waffle, with extra hot sauce.

Congratulations Tinker Bell

Our three-year-old daughter is a big fan of Tinker Bell the fairy, of Disney fame. I saw in the Sunday Tennessean that she has her first speaking part in an animated internet video.

Google in Lenoir

I saw this on Glenn Reynold's Instapundit site today.


DON'T BE EVIL -- OR STUPID. OR STUPIDLY EVIL:

Google is a company with a cute name and a cuddly reputation; 30-percent profit margins and a market capitalization of $144 billion; and a freshly inked, sweetheart deal to build a data center in the Caldwell County city of Lenoir.

Google's reputation is one of the keys to its financial success. People trust the company, which uses "Don't be evil" as its unofficial corporate motto, to safeguard their privacy and provide accurate, unbiased information as they search the Web and use its other online services. If Google comes to be seen as just another soulless moneymaking machine, it might lose some of its competitive advantage.

And that's what makes the California company's behavior as it negotiated its Tar Heel deal so hard to understand. Google strong-armed the public partners with which it worked on the incentive package, in ways that would be unseemly even for a company that doesn't publish a lengthy Code of Conduct that says things like, "Being a Googler means holding yourself to the highest possible standard of ethical business conduct. ... When it comes to ethical conduct, we believe in erring on the side of caution."

Except, apparently, when an annualized amount equal to two-tenths of 1 percent of its profits for the trailing 12 months is on the line. . . . But it turns out that there was a lot more to the story. Google leaned hard on North Carolina lawmakers and officials, not just to get the fattest deal possible but to choke off the flow of information along the way.

Cat Fight!

Louie and Emma, our cats, are at it again. Emma is the nine-year old calico. She is older and wiser, but is what country folk call skittish. Louie is just over a year old, and harassses Emma constantly. They seem to have reached an uneasy stand-off.

Lawyer Steve Website

I plan on publishing a website soon for my alter ego, the good Lawyer Steve, sometime soon. My sister Leslie's partner, Emily, is knowledgable about such things. She suggested that I put some information about what I do into writing to put on my website when it is launched. I started typing at about 5:00 a.m. and called it quits around noon, though I'm still tinkering with what I wrote. I tried to come up with information that would be helpful to someone in the difficult position of needing legal counsel.

Latest from Lenoir, North Carolina

I talked to my friend, Gregg Floyd, and got the latest from Lenoir, North Carolina, which is just up the road from my old home in Granite Falls. He was hosting a party and was trying to get to the store to buy food and beverages. I've been to many a party at Gregg's, and he's an excellent host, though usually he talks his mom into making a couple of platters for him.

He said he'd seen a couple of our mutual friends lately. I knew that Brush had been down the mountain to see Gregg, because he told me his truck broke down at Gregg's house last weekend, which was when Brush was going to come to Nashville to see us. Gregg said the truck is still in his driveway.

Gregg has also seen my former roommate, Bill "the Ranger" Bernhardt, a couple of times recently. Bill and a friend have been operating a convenience store in Lenoir for a few years now, and apparently they're about ready to discontinue their operation. I'll have to call him and get the details.

On a final North Carolina note, my friend Rat, in Hickory, and I ship each other a beer every other month. (I haven't brewed in forever, but half the Maryville bar remembers me as a brewer.) Anyway, I shipped Rat a Nashville beer called Dos Perros yesterday, but I haven't sampled one yet. Last time I talked to Rat, he had several home brews in the closet, so I expect I'll get a bottle of homemade beer next month.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Flaming Fry Basket Dance

I learned that there will be a reunion of employees of Knoxville's Half Shell Restaurant, which no longer exists. Many of my friends from high school worked there, though I never did. I was reminded of my friend, Jeff Bond, who is famous for taking two flaming batter-caked deep-frier baskets into the parking lot of the Shell and doing a bizarre tiki dance out there.

I learned a lot about the restaurant business from my friends who worked there. For instance, the dishwashers, who were known as "scumdivers" got a pitcher of beer for every pitcher of butter they harvested off of diner's plates before sending the plates through the dishwashing line.

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart

Sherry and Jake have started cutting pieces off of the heart-shaped cake, which made me think of Janis Joplin's song.

The Frist, Lunch with Grams and a Movie with Graham

We just got back to the house after our trip to the Frist museum, followed by lunch with Grams at Jim and Nick's Barbeque. The pop art exhibit had some pieces by Andy Warhol, including his famous Campbell's soup can. There was quite an array of odd pieces. One particularly disturbing item featured three women and a dog. Everything was made out of wood, except the dog's head, which the artist found at a taxidermist's shop. The dog head inspired the piece.

We spent most of our time upstairs in the area where they let the kids (and adults) paint and stuff. I broke out Sarah's paints here at the house recently, but I only put out three colors at a time. She was thrilled to have a broader selection of pigments.

Sherry talked the boys out of bowling in favor of a movie. They're going to go see Epic Movie around 3:00 p.m., while I hang out here at the house with the Boong. J&J are going to take their friend, Graham, to the flick and then bring him home to spend the night.

Art Museum and Bowling

There's a pop art exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts that ends tomorrow. Sherry wants to see it, so we're going downtown to be there when the museum opens for the day. J&J wanted to go bowling, so we'll do that on our way back out west, covering the entire cultural range.

Valentine Cake

Okay, so my wife is in the kitchen channeling Betty Crocker. She saw an advertisement on television where a mom makes a heart-shaped cake, and so she decided to take a crack at it for Valentine's Day. She used a square cake pan and round cake pan and cut the round cake in two to make the top of the heart. It's red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. We shall have to pick up some vanilla ice cream.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Full of It

The beef roast and cheesy potatos are having their effect. I am full and happy and listening to John Prine whilst Sherry bathes the Boong. J&J are in their room on the X-Box.

We packed a few boxes before dinner and intend to fill some more before the weekend is over, but I'm done for tonight.

Incoming

Here come the young-uns!

On to the Weekend!

Sherry and I made it back to Nashville yesterday and have been home today. Sherry's been keeping Boong occupied while I catch up on some paperwork, and I feel like I've had a pretty productive day. At least there's a stack of outgoing mail that at least looks like I've had a productive day.

We brought in a bunch of groceries this morning, and I also got a car load of boxes for packing to move. Sherry put a brisket in the crock pot this morning with some seasonings and onion, and she just added some baby carrots. We also threw our cheesy potato casserole together, so we have some good comfort food for dinner and the cold, cold weekend.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Wednesday in Maryville

I picked up a new criminal case in Maryville yesterday morning, and after meeting with another client I attended the Blount County Bar Association meeting with my former law partner, Duncan, which was quite enjoyable.

Sherry found a couple more houses she wants us to look at this morning, so we're going to do that before we head back to Nashville to pick up Joey and Jake from school this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Leslie's Visit

Leslie came over to Mom's yesterday and hung out with us for a few hours. Mom got home a little after 6:00, so Sarah had lots of entertainment.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Lunch at Old College Inn

I had lunch with an old friend from law school, Brent Nolan, today at Old College Inn on the Strip at UT today. I dropped Sherry and the Boong off at Auntie La's so they could visit with her and Baby Grace. Grace is much more alert and awake than the last time we saw her, and she's really holding her little head up well. After my luncheon with Brent, I rejoined the womenfolk at Laura's and visited a bit.

We're back at Mom's, and Lester is supposed to be here any time now. Sherry's having some downtime back in Wannie's room while Sarah and I are in Mom's home office on her "two 'puters." Sarah's got a Sesame Street game going on Mom's PC, and I'm blogging on Mom's laptop right next to her. Life is good!

1.9 Million Dollars and a Fungus Among Us

The Maryville Daily Times is reporting that the President's budget proposal includes a $1.9 million increase for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Also, scientists are working with a fungus that destroys the bugs that are killing the Eastern Hemlock, which grows throughout the park. The American Chesnut is practically extinct, and dead hulks of the once-towering trees are strewn throughout the park. Pine trees have been killed in recent years due to a beetle, and you can see dead pines still standing in many places in the park. Let's hope they can save the hemlocks.

Where are the Photos of Grace?

I still have yet to receive any photos of my neice in a form that I can post to this blog. I have some on a disposable camera, but I haven't developed them yet. It's hard to believe she's almost a month old.

The George Kids

I just got an E-mail from Karen George yesterday with a bunch of photos of their children. This is Natalie. We were amazed at how much she has grown! We're hoping to make a trip down to see Johnny and Karen and the kids before we make our move.

Here's a recent photo of Ted.

Latest Photos of Charlotte Zimmerman

I haven't been on a computer from which I can post photos in a while, so I have a bunch of them to share. Here are a couple of photos from my cousin Jon Zimmerman of his daughter, Charlotte, whom he reports is walking and talking and just moved up to the toddler room at her daycare.

Monday, February 5, 2007

House Hunting Report

Whew, I'm about worn out! We just got to Mom's and have been in the car since about 7:30 a.m. Nashville time. We looked at a bunch of different rental houses in Blount County today, including a promising four-bedroom house behind Maryville High School within walking distance of Sandy Springs Park, which has a trail where the boys can rollerblade and a playground. The house is big enough where I do not think we'd need to rent storage and where we can actually use our furniture. The dining room is easily big enough for Grandmother's dining room furniture, and there is enough room for J&J to have a separate room and for Sherry and I to set up our offices. I didn't look at the unfinished basement, but I'm sure I can make my bar work down there., which would sure be nice.

We also looked at a small two-bedroom townhouse that was right on the lake in Louisville within what I estimate to be an easy paddling trip to La's by water. We also saw a couple of new condo units that were very nice, but also small, and they cost more money than we want to spend, plus we'd have to rent storage place.

To Maryville

Although it's only 20 degrees outside here in Nashville this morning, we haven't had anymore snow, so we're going to make the trek over the plateau. Sherry's got several rental homes for us to view, so I think we'll go directly to Maryville to check the mail and look at houses. I'll put on my suit and visit the justice center tomorrow.

Colts Beat Bears in Super Bowl

I'll begin this post by complaining that they play the Super Bowl too late for me to watch on a school night, so I didn't see much of the game. I was pleased, however, to learn this morning that the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears to win the NFL Championship. I've been a Peyton Manning fan since he played for the University of Tennessee, and so I had to pull for the Colts, especially with all the talk that Peyton couldn't win "the big one."

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Milled Coins

My wife recently asked me why some coins have ridges on them, for instance dimes and quarters. I did not know, though I knew there is a specific word for the ridges. I couldn't remember it, though.

Through the investigative power of the internet, I learned today that the reason some coins have the ridges, or milling, is that in the days when coins were made of more valuable metals, like gold and silver, you could shave a bit off of the edges of a bunch of coins and collect the gold or silver dust. The milling made it obvious if someone was trying to give you coins that were worth less than they appeared to be.

Today, it's just a matter of style, and I'm sure the distinctive feel of the coins helps people identify what they have.

Super Boong!

Sarah has been getting into superheroes lately. I'm pleased that she recognizes Spiderman, who was always one of my favorites, and Ben Ten, a kid who has a wristband that turns him into one of ten different aliens, is Sarah's favorite. Lately, she's started to "blast off" when she goes in a hurry from one place to another, complete with her own sound effects. She's even said, "I'm a superhero!"

Snow Aborts Road Trip

I was awake for an hour or so this morning before I turned on the television and found out it was snowing. Sure enough, I looked out the window, and it was coming down. It's pretty much stopped now, but it's 20 degrees outside. Rather than deal with the conditions on the Cumberland Plateau, we decided to hang out here and travel tomorrow.

Back to Wannie's

Sherry completed the work she needed to do yesterday, and so we're going to hit the road this morning for Mom's house. La and Les went out to lunch yesterday with their friend Dana and her beau, Kevin Freeman, who is one of my old friends. Both of them are from Hickory, North Carolina, where Mom and L&L lived for several years. (I also lived in the nearby metropolis of Granite Falls, which is pretty tiny.) Stew stayed home with Grace, so I think it's the first time La has really gotten to go out since she got home from the hospital.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

More Grieving

From La:

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and the woods
.

W.H. Auden

From me:

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

J.R.R. Tolkien

The Day the Music Died

We've been preoccupied by death this week, and for that I apologize. However, I noticed in today's newspaper that today is the anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. The tragic event was immortalized by Don McLean's classic song "American Pie". One of my favorite country music musicians, Waylon Jennings, gave up his seat to the Big Bopper on that flight, and thus lived to tell the tale.

Leslie's Poem for Chris Rash

Only Few Come Along…

In this big goofy world, only few come along,

Who make you feel special and know you belong,

Sometimes life leads us down rocky roads,

Sometimes we must bear these heavy loads,

But having friends that are so special and dear,

Makes those loads lighter and takes away the fear,

Yes, few come along, it’s easy to see,

that you are one of those “special someones” to me.

Your smile lights up a room and your laugh is contagious,

Your beauty goes deep to your soul; and your spirit is outrageous!

Some call them angels that walk this earth,

and maybe it was so upon your birth,

that you would make a difference in people’s worlds

and two of them are your “twin girls.”

Your outlook on life is muse for a song,

yes, my dear friend, only few come along…

Friday, February 2, 2007

Snow Day

I ended up attending my hearing in Murfreesboro, and it was a nice drive down I-24, despite the salt on my windshield from the de-icing mixture on the road. I managed to get back home in time to help Boong build at least a small tabletop snowman. There just wasn't enough snow to get a full-size snowman going, at least without more labor than I cared to muster.

J&J spent the afternoon roaming the neighborhood of their friend, Graham. It made me think of being that age and stalking my old neighborhood in West Knoxville during snowy weather. We had access to woods, and a great place where you could sled down a hill and across a pond when it froze hard enough. I remember a particularly nasty snowball fight on that pond. It degenerated into a slushball fight when we broke through a place on the shallow end of the pond, so we could soak snowballs in the cold, scummy water. Kids went home crying.

NOW We Have Snow!

Well, Middle Tennessee got some snow after all. There's about an inch on our yard, and only three Middle Tennessee school districts remain open, Franklin County being one of them. So Joey and Jake had to wait a day for their day off, this will make it a three-day weekend for them. I just let Emma out of the house, and she even slipped in the snow as she headed out to the garage and the cat food bowl.

I have court in Murfreesboro this morning, but with the weather and road conditions being what they are, I'm not sure if it will take place or not.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Sleeping Boong

I'm amazed! Sarah's actually taking a nap, and at naptime to boot! Oh, those were the days . . . .

More on Chris

I've just posted Chris's obituary below. Mom was under the impression she would be buried in Missouri, but it appears she will be laid to rest in Florida. The funeral home's website has a guest book, and some information in addition to the News Herald's obituary, as well as a photo of Chris.

For readers who don't know Chris, she made her home in Panama City, and so she entertains us every summer when we visit the Destin area, where my friends, Randy and Dawn also live. Mom and Chris became friends when La and Les and I were just kids. I attended my first rock and roll concert, Peter Frampton, with Chris's son, David, who had an extra ticket. I also remember that they had a trampoline in their backyard, which was rare in those days.

We have a ceramic sign Chris gave us when we visited Florida a few years ago. It reads, "We will drink no wine before it's time. It's time." It's hung at our kitchen sink ever since.

Chris Rash Obituary in Panama City News Herald

CHRISTINE LIEBEL RASH

Christine Rash, 67, of Panama City Beach, Fla., passed away Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, in a local hospital. She was a publisher of tourism maps of the Panhandle and vice chairman of the board of the Northwest Philharmonic Society. She had a big heart and was very generous to several charitable organizations. Mrs. Rash was preceded in death by her husband, Charlie Rash; and her sister, Joan Sale. She is survived by her sons, Steven Rash and wife, Heather, David Rash and wife, Richelle; and five grandchildren, Connor, Eden, Bennett, Rebecca and Charlie Rash. Her family loved her very much and will miss her greatly. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007, at St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church with Father Ted Sosnowski officiating. Interment will follow in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Following interment, a celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. at Capt. Anderson’s. The family will receive friends Friday, Feb. 2, 2007, in the Southerland Family Funeral Chapel from 6 to 8 p.m. Expressions of sympathy may be submitted and viewed on our Web site: www.southerlandfamily.com.

<> Southerland Family
Funeral Homes

Panama City, Fla.

850-785-8532

Just a Dusting

We ended up with no more than a dusting of snow here in Nashville today. There was enough on the cars for the boys to make a snowball or two, but that was about it. Even Sarah was disappointed.

Mom said there was no snow at her house in Knoxville, and I've just checked the Look Rock and Purchase Knob webcams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Pisgah National Forest webcam. I couldn't see any snow from Look Rock, and very little up at Pisgah. Purchase Knob got the most, and it wasn't much.

Sherry and the boys have left for work and school, and Sarah and I are hanging out.

Burning Down the House

When we came home from Knoxville last time, we noticed that the house next door to Sarah's former daycare had burned. The folks that lived there kept chickens and goats, and the wife drove a school bus, so the house, which sits on Old Harding Pike, a very busy road, catches your eye. No one was hurt, but the house was a total loss. (The husband was asleep at the time of the fire, but his dog barked to wake him up.)

Follow Up Story on Lady Who Was Hit by Car in Front of Our House

While Sarah and I were at the mall yesterday, I picked up the Westview Bellevue community newspaper, which had a follow up story on the lady who was hit by a car in front of our house while trying to help a dog that had been hit by another car. The lady works at a local vet, but not the one we use. During her hospitalization the doctors discovered an unrelated brain cyst, which has been removed. The poor lady is uninsured, and brain surgery isn't cheap. They had a benefit show for her over the weekend, and the community is trying to raise money to help her as well.

Snow in Franklin

They just showed a shot of Franklin at I-65 and Highway 96 on television, and there's a light covering of snow on the road there, though the snow is not currenly falling there.

No Snow Yet

Well, there's no snow on the ground, nor is any falling at our place this morning. The radar shows a pretty nasty looking storm system just south of us, and the news is reporting icy conditions on the Cumberland Plateau and down in the counties to the south of Nashville. It's apparently very icy in Franklin County. We may need to send out the ESPD to check on the cabin in Estill Springs before it's all said and done with.

So far, Davidson County schools have not closed, and it's 34 degrees by the thermometer outside our kitchen window. The NBC affiliate here is still calling for snow, and so is weather.com. We'll see how it plays out.